Public libraries provide a vital, free space where people can learn and socialise, and they can also reduce loneliness and social isolation.
However, in 2017/18 only 33% of adults had used a public library service and between 2010 and 2016, 343 libraries closed, much higher than the government’s estimate of 110. We’re working with Dorset Libraries to expand what libraries offer and to evolve them into cultural hubs.
We want to ensure:
- High-quality arts and culture reaches a wider audience
- More people are encouraged to use the library services
- Libraries enrich more lives and bring communities together
We’re supporting the delivery of a diverse programme of arts and culture in Weymouth and Gillingham libraries. This includes creative workshops, performances and artists and writers residences. It is funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding.
How we’re involved
- We helped develop the funding bid after partnering a first stage consultation with the communities in Gilligham and Weymouth
We wrote the artists briefs for the 8 residencies and supported recruitment of all the artists
- We support the Libraries as Cultural Hubs co-ordinator in her role working with the artists and programming activities.
We are on the programme steering group
- We will feed into the evaluation and reporting for the programme
13 artists employed
5879 participants at events
500 live audience
7 new commissions
488 exhibition/performance days
26 staff training days
“This has made a big difference to me. Did I tell you I’ve been very ill? I don’t think of any of that when I come and see you, you’ve really encouraged me and given me hope with my poems.”
– Writing workshop participant
• Gillingham Library will now stage two shows a year, supported by trained library staff.
• Weymouth Library is installing permanent display fittings for art work and Gillingham are building portable staging that will become a shared libraries
• We are developing a helpful guide and resources for library staff to plan their future creative programmes.